TMO Reports - Short Student Film Created With iMovie Gets Nationwide Coverage

by , 3:35 PM EST, March 7th, 2006

"A Meditation on the Speed Limit," which was created in January by a team of student filmmakers at Georgia State University (GSU), has created a national stir that earned coverage on ABC World News Tonight, The Today Show and CNN Saturday Night. In the film, four drivers occupy four lanes of a busy Atlanta freeway, each of them holding steady at the posted 55 MPH speed limit. In the video, drivers react in a variety of angry ways, including two vehicles went around them on the shoulder, with one damaging a car sitting on the side of the road.

The video was created as part of Campus MovieFest, which was started in 2000 by David Roemer and three other students at Emory University. They continued the idea after they graduated, currently running the event on 30 campuses across the United States and the United Kingdom. "A Meditation on the Speed Limit" won Best Comedy during GSU's MovieNite on Feb. 1, and through exposure on blogs and Atlanta talk-radio stations, it soon became a heavily-viewed film on Google Video, catapulting it to national news media attention during the first week of March.

"This film is what Campus MovieFest is all about," Mr. Roemer told The Mac Observer. "A team of students signed up to participate and had a creative idea they wanted to share with their school. They were given an Apple laptop with iMovie and iLife software, a camcorder, training, and a week to put their story to video. A few weeks later, they've shared their story with the world. We can't wait to see what other movies have the same effect."

He added that he and his team have counted more than 12,000 blog entries discussing whether or not the drivers posed a traffic hazard, given the fact that they lined up across the freeway and wouldn't let other vehicles pass. He pointed TMO to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article in which a spokesman for the state's Department of Transportation said that as long as the students weren't blocking emergency vehicles, "they didn't do a thing wrong."

Four students pace the traffic flow

One of the students involved in the film said in that article that the point of the project was "to expose the flaws in the system by following it." The one who captured the shot of the four cars pacing the traffic at 55 MPH added that the idea was "to make people think."

Mr. Roemer noted that the range of movies submitted every year to all the Campus MovieFests is "incredible." In addition to the comedy and drama categories, a new one called History Lives has been added, with the potential for the documentaries entered in it to be shown on The History Channel. "Several of the documentaries we've received this year are about social issues ranging from hurricane relief to aging in America," he said.